12/10/11 – On December 1, the Mexican Military announced that they had found and seized a significantly large amount of radio communication technology used by the Zeta Cartel to conduct drug trafficking operations. These technology apparatuses were found in the states of Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and San Luis Potosí. According to TelesurTV, the Ministry of National Defense (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional, Sedena) stated, “During this operation, more than 4,000 devices and antennas were seized. These derived their energy source from solar panels that were installed in rural areas and mountains throughout the aforementioned states.”
The operation was part of Operación Noreste, which had been ongoing for two months prior to the findings. Investigations under this operation were focusing on finding the technology used by Zeta “hawks,” or those who use the technology and communication devices to alert other Zetas of possible police and military surveillance and activity in the areas where they traffic drugs. In its defense, Sedena representatives noted that the Zetas had no way of interfering with the communication used by military personnel and federal police because they use advanced protocols that do not allow outside forces to intercept the signal. They did add, however, that perhaps the Zetas were able to access communication relayed by the local police because they use an open signal system.
Operación Noreste took two months to produce tangible results given the difficulty in locating the antennas, solar panels, and car batteries, which, according to Univisión, were painted green and camouflaged. TelesurTV added that in total there were “91 antennas, 74 wave repeaters, 97 power sources, 791 radios, 905 cell phones, 963 Nextels, and 52 computers found,” which were turned over to the Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) for further investigation.